Our very first walk with the Walking Classroom was February 14, 2018. Students did a wonderful job of following our “pace cars” and listening to instruction. The discussion we had afterward made me so excited for the learning that was clearly taking place.
That same afternoon, a gunman opened fire on students and staff at a Florida high school. Like many teachers after the tragedy of a school shooting, I tried to reassure my students that they would be safe at school. While students might be dealing with trauma in other areas of their lives, school should be a safe place to learn and explore.
My students and I talked a little about the school shooting, but I received a gut punch when a student asked, “But Ms. Aldridge, what if there was a shooter on campus during a walk?” We talked about the measures we already had in place to keep safe on our walks. Then we addressed what additional actions we could take if anything dangerous were to happen.
In our discussions, we also talked about our school resource officer. At Terrell Lane Middle School, we are lucky to have Officer Brinkley (OB). She greets all of our students every morning and has built wonderful relationships with everyone who works and studies in our building.
When we began our Walking Classroom journey, Officer Brinkley accepted our invitation to go with us on our first walk. The students reviewed procedures for the walk and practiced operating the Walkits. Then they taught these details to OB before we began.
Officer Brinkley is a wonderful addition to our walks. As we walk around our school building listening to the podcasts, she checks outside doors to make sure they are locked. She provides an additional sense of security for our students and serves as a partner in learning. Even when she has not been able to go on a walk with us, she seeks out my students at other points during the day to ask them about what they learned!
Terrell Lane Middle School